Robert McMichael

What do you know about the reasons for emigration from Scotland?

Multiple reasons: religious persecution, economic, social (Highland Clearances, Ulster Plantation, etc.).

If you live overseas yourself, where do you live and can you say a few words about your personal Scottish diaspora story?

I live in the U.S. My ancestors emigrated from Scotland to Northern Ireland and the U.S. at different times, all prior to the 20th Century. Some went to work in establishing the Ulster plantations, and others came to the U.S. during the Revolutionary War – both bad decisions in my opinion.

Have any of your ancestors or members of your family emigrated? If so, where to? And do you know anything about their story overseas?

One of my ancestors was a Lowlands cattle thief who fought with the Royalists against the Jacobites, but died from an axe blow to the head by Bonnie Dundee (John Graham of Claverhouse, also known as the Viscount of Dundee). The Viscount was later killed in the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689 while leading the Jacobites to victory. Not long afterward, a piece of classical bagpipe music (a piobaireachd tune called “Lament for the Viscount of Dundee”) was written lamenting his death. I learned the tune on the pipes before knowing this history, and later was able to play the tune at Dundee’s death spot in a farmer’s field. I’ve written about this here.

What do you think is the legacy of the Scots abroad?

Hmm. I think they’re proud and a little full of themselves without knowing much about the filling. Lots of stereotypes about frugality and bad taste in food and clothing. Mike Meyers did a great job at this in “So I Married an Axe Murderer.”

Ending with something light-hearted: what did you think when first looking at the image called ‘Piper Kerr and Emperor penguin’?

As a piper, the image is telling. There’s an audience of one and it’s not even listening.

One thought on “Robert McMichael

  1. Love the part of your story about the piobaireachd tuneand that you learned to play it! Brilliant little story – thanks for sharing it here. As for the penguin: I suppose he very definitely wasn’t listening, nor very happy given how he got there (click on link above for full story).

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